Five Things We Learned: UNO v Bemidji State

Bemidji State forward Jordan George looks to get past Nebraska Omaha defenseman Matt Smith during the teams' 1-1 draw on Feb. 3, 2012 in Omaha. (Photo credit: Michelle Bishop)

1.) It’s not losing a game that’s disappointing. It’s how you lose.
Only taking one point from a possible four in a home series always stings for any college hockey team, but when it comes to Saturday’s 6-4 loss to Bemidji State, UNO largely had itself to blame.

UNO took several undisciplined penalties in the game, and the Beavers’ fourth and fifth goals on the night came when BSU was on the power play. UNO forward Brock Montpetit took three penalties in the third period alone on Saturday, and, at one point, only 13 seconds of game time had elapsed between Montpetit leaving the penalty box for one penalty and re-entering the box to serve another.

Maverick head coach Dean Blais singled the sophomore out in the coach’s postgame press conference.

“Just when we’re making comebacks, you can’t take three penalties,” Blais said. “Undisciplined penalties by Montpetit, totally. Not that he lost the game for us, but he took any chance of winning away from us. A sophomore forward and one of our top guys can’t do that.

“This isn’t pro sports, but it’s a lack of discipline. Winning’s hard enough against that team without taking yourself out of the game.”

2.) Andrej Sustr wasn’t at 100 percent, and it showed.
UNO’s two biggest injury worries in recent weeks, defenseman Andrej Sustr (fractured wrist) and goaltender Ryan Massa (concussion), both made their returns to the lineup against Bemidji State. It was evident with Sustr in particular, however, that the sophomore wasn’t immediately back to his best.

The Czech played a reasonably good game during Friday’s 1-1 draw, but Saturday saw Sustr finish at minus-three on the scoresheet, meaning UNO conceded three goals when Sustr was on the ice.

Blais thought that missed practice time may have contributed to the defenseman’s struggles on Saturday, but the coach admitted that a minus-three outing is still unacceptable all the same.

“I thought Andrej recovered quick from that fractured wrist. He played OK last night and played a regular shift, and then tonight he and (fellow UNO blueliner Tony) Turgeon were victimized a little bit.

“They didn’t move the puck as well as they had last night, and I think Andrej was minus-three. Our top defenseman can’t be minus-three.”

3.) BSU’s usual plan of attack against UNO continued to work.
Through undisciplined play, UNO often shot itself in the foot against BSU this weekend, but bad penalties weren’t the only reasons the Mavericks struggled.

The Beavers used what many UNO fans called a boring style of play, but, against the Mavericks last weekend, BSU’s system paid dividends. Again.

BSU often had its players out on the dots in the neutral zone working to patrol the border into the 100 feet of ice UNO was trying to enter on the forecheck. The Mavericks did manage to break through and create scoring chances, but BSU goalie Dan Bakala was up to the task much more often than not on both nights.

What’s more, BSU’s offensive strategy of gaining the red line, dumping the puck into the attacking zone, sending a forechecker up and keeping others players back to protect BSU’s zone frustrated the Mavericks at most every turn.

There’s a pattern there. For one reason or another, UNO has rarely been able to fully figure BSU out, and that’s led to the Mavericks only winning one of the teams’ 10 meetings since both programs joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association two years ago.

4.) Bakala was the main reason BSU snatched a point on Friday.
The senior goaltender from Calgary has frustrated UNO time and again over the course of his collegiate career, and his play on Friday was a prime example.

Bakala stopped 37 Maverick shots during the 1-1 tie, and while both he and UNO goalie Ryan Massa shined in the game, Bakala saved the Beavers’ bacon more often than Massa saved the Mavericks’.

UNO outshot BSU 38-28 in the game, but against a goaltender putting in a lesser performance, the Mavericks may have won comfortably. It was vintage Bakala that frustrated UNO’s attackers, though, with the Beaver goalie robbing Maverick skaters on several occasions throughout the night.

5.) Many fans overreacted to Friday night’s rendition of the national anthem.
The anthem duties for the night were left to local musician Kaitlyn Filippini, who put in a Jimi Hendrix-inspired – I’m guessing – performance with an electric violin.

Filippini’s rendition, eclectic though it unquestionably was, wasn’t well-received by many UNO fans. Many of those same fans later flocked to Mavpuck making comments that were, well, less than nice.

I don’t know Filippini, but without trying to be rude – as several fans were towards her and her performance – it needs to be said that they ought to leave her alone.

She’s clearly a very talented young woman, and while her rendition wasn’t to everyone’s tastes, the idea that she intended to show disrespect towards or desecrate our country’s national anthem easily ranks up there as one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard in 28 years of life. I’m as proud of my country as anyone else, but, in my opinion, Filippini is owed an apology.

Anyway, that’s my soapbox moment for the week. Check back in the coming days as we publish news stories and features ahead of this weekend’s key series between UNO and Michigan Tech.


2 thoughts on “Five Things We Learned: UNO v Bemidji State

  1. I obviously wasn’t in Omaha, however, this guy performs the anthem at least a dozen times a year here at Nats Park and gets a standing ovation from players, coaches, fans and umpires…everyone loves him…I’m assuming it was something similar to what you saw in Omaha on Friday.

    When a team isn’t performing as well as expected, it’s common for folks to lash out at other things. Judging by the reaction of some online this morning, that seems to be the case in this instance.

  2. Dead on, Matt. I’d also like to point out that BSU hustles up and down the ice to be in position for the scheme they play. I have to emphasize it is not lazy man’s defense but it does reduce an opposing team’s size advantage by making it more about passing lanes. BSU has skill but not size. It is the tight scheme for them. I hope the Mavs get another shot at them.

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